Everyday is a battle. We fight the good fight. We may fall but we never ever give up. I look back at mistakes I have made with parenting my child with a disability and I have no choice but to lay it at the feet of Jesus. He loves this boy more than anyone ever could and wants the best for him. I get tired mentally, spiritually, emotionally, and physically and I fall short constantly. It is so easy to give in rather than let my yes be yes and my no be no. He can be relentless when it comes to something he wants or something he does not want to do. His power is limited in this world and that bothers him. There are things he believes he should be able to do and say that are just not so. The concept of authority is fuzzy. He is always paying attention to what is going on and what is being said around him. That means he will surely call you out on something you have done that HE is not allowed to do or say. It does not matter who you are, how old you are, or your position in his life. He will hold you accountable or he will use it as an excuse for his own behavior. I find this to be one of the most difficult things to help him process and it is because it is not supposed to make sense. Modeling the wrong behavior, whether it is in word or deed, IS wrong. Expecting any child to understand “do as I say, not as I do” is absurd. For Kody it is mind blowing. He does not accept that it is okay for you to be sarcastic and hateful with him and then punish him when he gives it right back to you. I love that about him. He convicts me daily. I have fought being a lazy parent and only doing what I was willing to do just as hard as he has fought making good behavior choices all his life. God has told me what I need to be doing for him.
Things like helping him pursue his gifts and talents and having a healthy and active social and physically fit lifestyle. He has also told me what to stop allowing for him. Such as abnormal amounts of screen time and a poor diet along with poor eating habits. I have been slow to obey His directions but I am catching up. The hardest part is realizing how much better or easier his life would be, and in turn mine, had I followed the Lord’s direction for us as He lead me to in the first place.
Leaning unto my own understanding, my own weaknesses, my own anything, instead of pressing into the One who understands Kody and me has cost both of us unnecessary trials and tribulation. I am learning to get over my flesh and work. Do not misunderstand. I have worked with Kody, for Kody, against Kody, and alongside Kody all of his life, everyday with the best intentions and hopes for him. I have used therapies, counselors, medications, and all sorts of helpful resources to help Kody get to where he is today. He has worked the hardest to get this far. I have seen prayers answered on his behalf and I continue to pray greater prayers and believe for greater things for him. What I am talking about are the areas in my life I have not used self discipline, consistency, and self control. Those places that have hurt both of us the most. When you have a child that can not afford for you to struggle in these areas, it is convicting. We all have our struggles but the Lord has promised that “No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it. I Cor. 10:13”. That means that I have more power than I realize to overcome the temptation to give in to my child out of fatigue, frustration, guilt or any other excuse that the devil tries to hit me with. This includes (for us) eating habits, exercise habits, screen time, chores, respectful behavior, obedience, and any other good thing that he fights me on. It includes my own behaviors. We do not have to be victims of our flesh.
Acting on this rich truth, I have started establishing habits that have always been very hard for me. Logically I am aware that these are not hard things to do but mentally and physically they are huge obstacles that I have not been able to conquer. Though house work gets done, it has been a burden and an oppressive ordeal to do daily for a household of seven. I am not even talking about the entire house, just the downstairs and the laundry. I do not ever feel ready for company because there are ALWAYS dishes, clothes, and clutter. It sounds like a simple enough task to keep under control but for some people that is overwhelming in ways that cripple the soul. When you are tired all of the time and your plate is full all of the time, then dirty dishes can seem like the devil trying to crush your spirit. So, I decided to make that a habit. I have been praying for help to take care of my family and this home that God has so generously restored to me and He has been so very faithful in answering that prayer. Now, every morning I clean my kitchen, do my dishes, and start the laundry as unto the Lord.
Another area that has seemed impossible for me to overcome has been exercise. I never liked it but I know how important it is. I have been praying about taking care of this body God has blessed me with and to help Kody do the same. He wants to be in shape but it is hard to overcome our bad habits that we enjoy so much. They bring us temporary comfort and that seems important when you feel stressed all of the time. It is no way to live though. We end up staying miserable. So, I joined a gym. I work out most mornings after I drop the kids off at school and I take Kody in the evenings as often as possible. We are making this a regular part of our life for the first time EVER. It feels wonderful. I love watching him enjoy taking care of himself. I worried about how he was going to do with the complicated machines and other people around him that would be working out in their own space. He figured the equipment out quicker than I did. As for the people, they are encouraged by his efforts. I see it on their faces. On one trip, a large muscular gentleman watched us struggle as we were figuring out how to use a piece of weight lifting equipment correctly. I was concerned we were bothering him because we were next to him. He stopped what he was doing and showed Kody how to use the equipment properly and what to do with his arms as he lifted the weights. It touched my heart and encouraged Kody incredibly. If people only realized how much power is behind a kind gesture, we could change the world. Finally, I have resolved to quit procrastinating with my writing. I started a book that Kody is helping me write and I have asked a very talented young lady to illustrate it. We have only just begun but I am so thrilled to have this project to work on together. That also means more blogging on a regular basis.
The temptation to give up or give in when things are really hard and I am tired and overwhelmed will still be there but I am gaining in momentum to permanently change that for both of us. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me, right?! I hope that you find encouragement in my stories. They certainly encourage me as I write every precious word. My life is not perfect. I do not claim it to be so. What I offer is a glimpse into our struggles, victories, strategies, and most of all the hope that is my Jesus working out the kinks in our life. Do not ever give up because there is always more to be revealed just up ahead.